LAW RESOURCE INDIA

EC rejects plea against installation of statues

Posted in CONSTITUTION, ELECTION LAW by NNLRJ INDIA on October 13, 2010

J. Venkatesan IN THE HINDU

‘Grounds pleaded in petition do not fall within ambit of disqualifications laid down in the law’


Intention behind installing elephant statues was clearly to draw political mileage: Ravi Kant

We cannot add or lay down any new grounds for disqualification: Election Commission


NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) has held not maintainable a complaint filed by an advocate alleging misuse of public funds by the Uttar Pradesh government for installation of statues of elephants and Chief Minister Mayawati to promote the symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

On a petition from advocate Ravi Kant, the Supreme Court asked the EC to pass appropriate orders on the petition.

The State government contended that the Commission had no jurisdiction to seek information about the statues and the expenditure when no election process was notified.

It argued that there was no provision under the Representation of the People Act and the Rules to call for such information.

Difference in posture

The BSP contended that the elephant statues showed the trunk raised in a welcome posture, whereas in the party symbol, the trunk was lowered.

Mr. Ravi Kant argued that the statues of elephants installed in temples were symbolic, whereas the intention behind installing a large number of statues of elephants was clearly to draw political mileage for the BSP.

He also sought the disqualification of Ms. Mayawati.

The EC — comprising Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Commissioners V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma — in its order on October 11 said: “The grounds pleaded in the petition of Mr. Ravi Kant seeking disqualification of Ms. Mayawati do not fall within the ambit of any of the disqualifications laid down in the law.

“The Commission cannot add or lay down any new grounds for disqualification. Therefore the prayer for her disqualification is rejected.”

Role of Model Code of Conduct

On the plea for freezing the BSP symbol, the EC said this question could be considered only if the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was violated. It was well settled that the MCC would come into play only when the Commission announced the schedule for an election. The order, however, said that if a party, whether ruling or in the opposition, by misusing public funds for its own partisan ends, “erects or installs statues of its party symbol, even during non-election period, the party cannot absolve itself of the accusation that it has acted in breach of salutary principles underlying the objects of the MCC— maybe not in letter, but undoubtedly in spirit.”

‘Cannot gauge impact’

The EC said it was not in a position to gauge the impact of the statues and the extent of impact on the mind of the electors as the State government had refused to furnish even the basic information as to where and how many statues had been installed.

‘No undue advantage’

While holding that the complaint was not maintainable, the EC, however, said: “At the time of elections, the Commission would no doubt take appropriate steps and measures to see that the statues of Ms. Mayawati and the BSP’s symbol ‘elephant’ do not disturb the level-playing field and give undue advantage to the BSP vis-à-vis other political parties.”

http://www.hindu.com/2010/10/13/stories/2010101356071500.htm

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NCW to SC: Is it cruelty to threaten divorce?

Posted in CRIME AGAINST WOMEN, DIVORCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, GENDER, HUMAN RIGHTS by NNLRJ INDIA on October 13, 2010

The National Commission for Women (NCW) wants the Supreme Court to rule on whether a woman can be held liable for cruelty under dowry law if she threatens to “force” her son to take divorce.

“Whether threatening a daughter-in-law that she (the mother-in-law) would force the son to take a divorce not amount to mental cruelty thereby clearly attracting Section 498A (dowry harassment) of the IPC?” the commission has sought a judicial clarification from the apex court. It has further asked the court to decide if “advising” a daughter-in-law to take divorce by mutual consent and inducing her with a monetary compensation amounts to cruelty as defined under Section 498A.

The top women’s body has sought these clarifications in a curative petition filed before a Bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam against a July 27, 2009 Supreme Court judgment.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) wants the Supreme Court to rule on whether a woman can be held liable for cruelty under dowry law if she threatens to “force” her son to take divorce.

“Whether threatening a daughter-in-law that she (the mother-in-law) would force the son to take a divorce not amount to mental cruelty thereby clearly attracting Section 498A (dowry harassment) of the IPC?” the commission has sought a judicial clarification from the apex court. It has further asked the court to decide if “advising” a daughter-in-law to take divorce by mutual consent and inducing her with a monetary compensation amounts to cruelty as defined under Section 498A.

The top women’s body has sought these clarifications in a curative petition filed before a Bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam against a July 27, 2009 Supreme Court judgment.

“In this judgment, this court has held that (a) kicking a daughter-in-law; (b) constantly threatening her that they (in-laws) would convince their son to take divorce does not amount to cruelty as under Section 498A (dowry harassment) of the IPC,” states the NCW petition filed by advocate Aparna Bhat.

The commission said it had, during the “course of its work”, found dowry harassment and domestic violence “more of a norm than an aberration and the law has to be interpreted in a manner beneficial to women in distress”.

The 2009 judgment of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph had quashed dowry harassment charges instituted against Bhaskar Lal Sharma and his wife by their daughter-in-law, Monica, who accused them of physically harming her and threatening her with divorce.

Section 498A says it amounts to ‘cruelty’ if a husband or his relative wilfully subjects a woman to actions that may drive her to commit suicide or cause grave injury to herself. A person is liable to undergo a maximum imprisonment of three years if found guilty.

The petition asks the court whether “constantly interfering in the marriage of a newly married couple by advising a daughter-in-law to give divorce, kick her, and criticise her on a regular basis” match the definition of cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC.

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